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JUDGE FIELD. 



SOUND IN DOCTRINE, BRAVE IN DEED. 

An Ardent View of His Fitness for the Democratic Candidacy. 



Four years ago Mr. Tildeii was pre-eminently the man of the 
hour. Probably no other Democrat coukl have been elected at 
that time. But living as rapidly as we do, in these years of our 
Lord, the period between 1876 and 1880 is a vast tract. Much 
has happened. Men and issues have changed. We lost the fruits 
of that victory, and the responsibility for the loss is still undeter- 
mined. Mr. Tilden did not become President, but he ceased to be 
governor of J^ew York, and last autumn the party itself under his 
leadersliip was driven from power in the state. The questions upon 
whicli he acquired the contidence and won the support of his own 
people are settled. 

Air. Tilden is an older and a feebler man than he was then, and 
he may not really desire the nomination. He has not said that 
he does, and his nearest friends have entered into intrigues for the 
succession which iniply that he does not. Some of them are put 
forward in a way that can mean only the conviction in their own 
minds or that of their friends that Air. Tilden is not a candidate in 
the sense that he desires to make the battle a second time in his 
own name, or feels equal to the duties of the office if he should be 
elected. We may fairly assume then that Air. Tilden is not in the 
iield until he tells us plainly that he is, and until he puts a quietus 
upon these friends of his who are candidates, on the sole ground 
tljat they are severally his candidates. 

No man having a vote at Cincinnati will strive more earnestly 
than the writer hereof to secure justice to the great man who re- 
organized the party in 187G, supplied it with the reform issue 
i-aised by his own official conduct in New York, and led it to the 
iirst victory it had won in twenty years. But the Democratic party 
will not sutler its leadership to be transferred like a mere ciiattel, or 
to be made the subject of any testamentary arrangement. If Mr. 



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Tildeii wants the nomination let hiui say so, and the convention 
will canvass the grounds of his claim with a favor no other will 
receive. If, on the other hand, he manfully retires and expresses 
candidly his preference for another, his advice will weigh heavily. 
But the party is not particularly charmed by the reports of the in- 
trigues, and mana-uvres centering in Gramercy Park, and v>'liile 
Mr. Tilden may exert a great though ]")erhaps not a controlling in- 
fluence at Cincinnati by a bold and honorable course, the nomi- 
nation cannot be disposed of by testament to any of the hungry 
expectants who hang around his house like eager legacy-hunters 
about the sick-chamber of an opulent Koman, When lie pitches 
upon an heir he must bring him out and show him to the people; 
since their consent will probably, be of more importance tlian that 
of the eunuchs and women of the household. The people and their 
delegates at Cincinnati may develop a preference which could not 
be set aside by an edict, round, vigorous, imperial in every word, 
and still less by the small uncertain whisper that comes, or seems 
to come, from Gramercy Park. 

We may, therefore, I think, consider Mr. Tilden as out of the 
race until he chooses to come into it; and we need not concern 
ourselves about his wishes concerning a candidate until he shall see 
fit to designate his choice. In the meantime, while the anxious ex- 
pectants assure us he is moribund, and busily drafting the last will 
and testament which is to transfer our property, perhaps we may, 
without serious otlence, deliberate upon the matter ourselves, and 
determine what we would do with the estate, if only Mr. Tilden 
and his heirs would allow us. 

We must carry the country now or never. A failure now 
means the end of free elections, the practical subversion ot 
the present Constitution, the heart of the Democratic party broken, 
and its disbandment, or its future existence as a mere conspiracy 
against the personal government at Washington. This is the thought 
in the popular mind. It is the thought upon which the election will 
turn. It is the issue upon which every Democrat will cast his bal- 
lot and upon which thousands of Republicans will casttheii's. The 
man, therefore, who embodies most clearly this opposition to cen- 
tralization and personal government is the man of the hour to- 
day, as Mr. Tilden was the man of the hour in 1870. Then the 
issues were matters of administrative reform, economy, retrench- 
ment, and the restoration of otKcial integrity and decency. They 
are now superseded by a greater. The Constitution itself is in 
danger; the Republic quivers in every nerve with apprehension of 
a death-blow. A repetition of the Great Fraud would be the end 
of free elections and of republican government. The Rei)ublican 
nominee is the near friend and personal representative of him wdio 
now holds the office by force and fraud. And it is not unreason- 
able to suppose that similar means will, if necessary, be resorted 
to to seat him asjainst the will of the people. He himself was one 



of the infiimous eight, who closed their ejes upon the evidence, 
and shut out in ev^ery instance the record of the popuhir vote. 
Who, then, is the man to meet him at the polls, and who the man 
to meet him when tlie votes have been put in the boxes? 

lie must be one who can command the full vote of the Demo- 
cratic i:>ai'ty, and one who, when elected, will defend the right ot 
the people to have the President of their choice, and will not cover 
his eyes before a drawn sword. He must have been loyal to the 
Union, but he must have been always a consistent and faithful 
Democrat. He must be one who had no lot or part in the shame- 
ful surrender of 1876-77; and he will be all the better if it ap- 
pears that he not only resisted the adoption of the electoral bill, 
but fought the false count at every step, and followed his last blow 
at the consummated fraud with a heart-felt judicial anathema. 
Such is the man the people want. And if, in addition to these 
qualitications, he has proved himself the foremost defender of the 
rights of states, and of people against federal centralization — the 
champion of the republic against the empire — -he would be elected 
as certainly as the sun should rise on the 2d of November, and he 
would be found in the White House as certainly as it should set on 
the 4tli of March. 

I invite your readers to examine fairly and fully the history and 
character of Stephen J. Field, of California, and see if they do not tind 
in him the man with every quality and every qualification required 
to carry the country, and to execute its judgment. To one great 
Democratic citizen in particular — to that Samuel J. Tilden, whose 
confidence is hourly abused by men who dodge in the shadows of his 
house — by men who report him to-day as in favor of Payne, who ea- 
gerly clutched the electoral bill as it was handed out from the secrecy 
of the Senate committee-room, and gave no sleep to his eyelids, or rest 
to the sole of his foot, until he had succeeded in forcing it unamended 
dowm the throat of the reluctant House, and thrown away the last 
chance of Mr. Tilden gaining his office ; by men who will to-morrow 
report hini as in favor of some one else, and cHshonor him with the 
imputation of making a sham canvass, intending to betray his fol- 
lowers into the support of a ticket they would otherwise oppose — 
to this Samuel J. Tilden Judge Field's nomination ought to be es- 
pecial I3' acceptable. Of all men in Congress, at the bar, or on the 
bench, Judge Field made the most gallant and strenuous battle 
against the Great Fraud. He fought it, inch by inch, in all its 
form«« and phases — the South Carolina case, the Florida case, the 
Louisiana case — each separate fraud which combined to make the 
Great Fraud. Does Mr. Tilden, in common with the American 
people, who were cheated when he was cheated, owe this man no 
debt of gratitude for the splendid struggle he made in the Electoral 
Commission in defence of their rights? Would he or any other 
good Democrat be willing to see him pushed aside to make room 
for any of the facile Congressmen who voted to abdicate the con- 



stitutional powers of the two Houses, and to create a juggling com- 
mission, whereby to cast dice for the destinies of forty millions of 
freemen? No! If Mr. Tilden has a choice beyond himself, that 
choice is necessarily Judge Field. If he wishes only that honor- 
able discharge from the service, of which we have heard, he would 
naturally desire thai his place should be occupied b}' one who, in 
the crisis of 1876-77, had stood inflexibly true to him and to the 
country. Indeed, Mr. Tilden has said, at least once, and it is the 
only authenticated speech of the kind that ever fell from his lips, 
that, himself aside, Judge Field would draw more votes than any 
candidate the Democrats could name. 

The people little realize the extent to which the centralizing pro- 
cess has gone. Our government to-day is no more like the gov- 
ernment of the fathers than it is like that of the patriarchs. The 
Constitution under which we live resembles that of 1789 about as 
much as the present British constitution I'esembles that of the sep- 
tarchy. The federal has gradually given place to the imperial, un- 
til state lines are merely geographical distinctions. Power has 
stolen or is stealing towards the centre, and we are liable to wake 
from our dream of local self-government in the chilling shadow of 
the empire. It is near; one more defeat of the stales rights party, 
one more stamp of the iron heel on the states rights idea, and it is 
here. All this has been accomplished, not by open violence, but 
by construction. The old Constitution has beeii buried under the 
liberal interpretations of Federalist-Republican Congresses and ad- 
ministrations, grasping doubtful powers and making each step to- 
wards centralization the sure precedent of another. This revolu- 
tion was possible only with the concurrence of the judiciai'v, and 
for more than twent_y years the cui'rent of decisions has run stead- 
ily in the one direction — reversing the old rules of strict constitu- 
tional construction and adopting the new — casting aside the doc- 
trines of those who made the govenmient, and enforcing those of 
Hamilton and the monarchists whose views were rejected by the 
fathers. In other words, in that great case of The Republic vs. 
The Empi're, which is perpetually at the bar in some one of its 
countless forms, the court has steadily leaned, and with ci'ushing 
weight, to the side of the empire. J3ut during all that])eriod there 
was one Justice w'hose voice never faltered. His opinions run 
sparkling througli the books like a silver stream through the desert. 
Did the case involve the right of the citizen or the right of the 
state, he stretched out in every instance the strong arm of legal 
defence, and every " blow aimed at our liberties he caught upon 
the broad shield of our blessed Constitution and our equal laws." 
But for the protest which he voiced, and which we may almost say 
he was, during a long seiies of dark and eventful years, there is no 
telling to what further extreme the court would have swung, or 
what worse transformation of our republican system might have 
taken place under its decisions. 



It sounds straii_2;e oiioii<:;h now, but it is nevertheless true, that 
in 1865 tlie administration claimed the right to seize citizens at its 
pleasure, to try them l)y military courts, and to shoot or hang them 
under the judgments of those tribunals in states where an enemy 
had nev*" trod and the civil courts were wide open. And more 
strangely still, there were judges of the Supreme Court who upheld 
the power. Milligau was saved from the clutches of such tribunals 
by a bai'e majority of one. 

McCardle. a citizen of Mississippi, was arrested under the so-called 
reconstruction laws, tried and sentenced by a military court. His 
case, like that of Milligan, was brought to the Supi'eme Court. It 
involved the validity of the whole system of legislation, which Mr. 
Stevens said was "outside the Constitution." It was heard and I 
presume determined in consultation, for there was but one way it 
could be determined. Thereupon a bill was introduced into the 
House of Kepresentatives to take away the jui'isdiction, and the 
court was dismayed and paralyzed. There sat the timid justices with- 
holding their judgment upon a case heard and upon which hung 
the liberties, not of one citizen oidy. but of many millions, until 
this iniquitous bill, devised in party councils, could be run through 
the two houses — and the case stricken from the docket by a caucus 
decree. Two only had the courage to denounce the outrage, and 
record tlieir solemn protest. That paper is in style and tenor the 
noblest that ever found its way to the musty files of any court, En- 
glish or American. One of the signers was Mr. Justice Grier, 
who died full of years and in the odor of judicial sanctity. The 
other wa-^ Mr. Justice Field. 

In 1866 came on the test-oath eases from ]\Iissouri and Arkansas, 
and again Mr. Justice Field came to the front as the defender of 
the citizen, this time carrying the court with him and wiping out that 
whole system of most odious proscriptions. These cases, as deter- 
mined, the case of Father Cummings, the priest, fined and impris- 
oned for exercising his sacred functions, without the previous cere- 
mony of an infamous and shameful oath, and the case of Garland, 
the lawyer, debarred from practice for the same reason, settle in 
favor of the citizen the principles involved as firmly as it could 
have been done bj" constitutional amendment. 

These cases were but the beginning of the ceaseless contest 
waged by Judge Field for constitutional liberty against ungranted 
and centralized power. On the confiscation cases, on the cases con- 
cerning the indestructibility of states either by military force or 
congressional enactment, on the sanctity of the mails and the right 
of the citizen to be secure in his papers as well as his person and 
property, on arbitrary and military arrests, and on the power of 
the states generally to regulate their domestic affairs without fed- 
eral interference, his course was the same, Xever man sat upon 
any bench more vigilant, more fearless, more consistent. 



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Pei'liaps none of the opinions of Judge Field — except those in 
the leading so-called political cases — would atiect him as a can- 
didate before the people more than those concerning the right of 
the states to control corporations doing business within their limits. 
These touch questions whicli are of the utmost moment Tn nearlv 
every state of the Union, and would move large classes of voters. 
His doctrines are those of the Democratic party, and his remedy 
for corporate abuses of evei'y descrijition, including apparently lo- 
cal freight discriminations, is not the intervention of Congress under 
the vague and uncertain power to regulate commerce, but the con- 
ceded power of the states to regulate their own creations. Mo- 
nopoly finds no more favor at his hands than the absurd centraliz- 
ing pretension that the right of sui)ervision resides in the federal 
government. He leaves it where it belongs — with the states — and 
the oil producer and the granger, the farmer and the lumberman, 
can secure for himself under his own home governmeut the redress 
and protection he needs, without inviting in the Saxons or the 
Danes. The following extract expresses the principle with that 
clearness and simjilicity wliich mark a great mind, and lead us to 
wonder why we had not said it that way ourselves: 

"The late war was carried on at an enormous cost of life and property that the 
Union might be preserved ; but unless the independence of the states within their proper 
spheres be also preserved, the Union is valueless. In our form of government the one 
is as essential as the other; and a blow at one strikes both. The general government 
was formed for national purposes, principally that we might have within ourselves uni- 
formity of commercial regulations, a common currency, one postal system, and that the 
citizens of the several states might have in each equality of right and privilege ; and 
that in our foreign relations we might present ourselves as one nation. But the protec- 
tion and enforcement of the private rights of both persons and property, and the regu- 
lation of domestic affairs, were left chiefly with the states, and unless they are allowed 
to remain there it will be imjiossible for a country of such vast dimensions as ours, 
with every variety of soil and climate, creating different pursuits and conflicting inter- 
ests in different sections, to be kept together in peace. As long as the general govern- 
ment confines itself to its great but limited sphere, and the states are left to control their 
domestic affairs and business, there can be no ground for public unrest and disturbance. 
Disquiet can only arise from the e.xercise of ungranted powers. 

" Over no subject is it more important for the interests and welfare of a state that it 
should have control, than over corporations doing business within its limits-. By the 
decision now rendered, congressional legislation can take this control from the state, 
and even thrust within its borders corporations of other states in no way responsible to 
it. It seems to me that, in this instance, the court has departed from long established 
doctrines, the enforcement of which is of vital importance to the efficient and harmonious 
working of our national and state governments."® 

At the October term, 1879, Mr. Justice Field filed his now famous 
dissenting opinions in the Virginia case, involving the right of 
Congress to punish a state officer for the manner in which he dis- 
charges a dut}' imposed by state law; and in the Maryland and 
Ohio cases, involving the constitutionality of the inlamous election 
laws of Congress. The reasoning in the two cases were the same, 
and the opinions have l)een widely read. They have largel}' drawn 
public attention to their author, especiall}' in the South, as the 

*Pcnsacola Telegraph Co. case, 6 Otto, 23. 



l)ropcr candidate of the party whoso life-giving principle is that of 
local self-government. In the election case he said : 

" Tlie vie^ys expressed derive further support from the fact that the constitutional 
])rovision applies equally to the election of senators, except as to the place of choosing 
them, as it does to the election of representatives. It will not be pretended that Con- 
cress couhl authorize the appointment of supervisors to examine the roll of members of 
state lejiislatures and pass upon the validit.y of their titles, or to scrutinize the balloting 
for senators ; or could delegate to special deputy marshals the power to arrest any mem- 
ber resisting and repelling the interference of the supervisors. But if Congress can au- 
thorize such othcers to interfere with the judges of election appointed under state laws 
in the discharge of their duties when representatives are voted for, it can authorize such 
officers to interfere with members of the state legislatures when senators are voted for. 
The language of the Constitution conferring power upon Congress to alter the regula- 
tions of the states, or to make new regulations on the subject, is as applicable in the one 
case as in the other. The objection to such learislation in both cases is that state officers 
are not responsible to the federal government for the manner in which they perform their 
duties, nor subject to its control. Penal sanctions and coercive measures by federal law 
cannot be enforced against them. Whenever, as in some instances is the case, a stale 
officer is required by the Constitution to perform a duty, the manner of which maj-- be 
j)rescrilied by Congress, as in the election of senators by members of state legislatures, 
those officers are responsible to their states for their official conduct. The federal gov- 
ernment cannot touch them There are remedies for their desregard of its regulations, 
which can be applied without interfering with their official character as state officers. 
Thus, if its regulations for the election of senators should not be followed, the election 
had in disregard of them might be invalidated ; but no one, however extreme in his 
views, would contend that in such a case the members of the legislature could be sub- 
jected to criminal prosecution for their action. With respect to the election of repre- 
sentatives, so long as Congress does not adopt regulations of its own and enforce them 
through federal offiiers, but permits the regulations of the states to remain, it must de- 
pend for a compliance with them upon the fidelity of the state officers and their respon- 
sibility to their own government. All the provisions of the law, therefore, authorizing 
supervisors and marshals to interfere with those officers in the discharge of their duties, 
and jjroviding for criminal prosecutions against them in the federal courts, are, in my 
judgment, clearly in conflict with the Constitution. The law was adopted, no doubt, 
with the object of preventing frauds at elections for members of Congress, but it docs 
not seem to have occurred to its authors that the states are as much interested as the 
general government in guarding against frauds at those elections and in maintaining 
their purity, and, if possible, more so, as their principal officers are elected at the same 
time. If fraud be successfully perpetrated in any case, they will be the first and great- 
est sufferers. They are invested with the sole power to regulate domestic affairs of the 
highest moment to the prosperity and happiness of their people, affecting the acquisi- 
tion, enjoyment, transfer, and descent of property ; the marriage relation and the edu- 
cation of children ; and if such momentous and vital concerns may be wisely and safely 
entrusted to them, I do not think that any apprehension need be felt if the supervision 
of all elections in their respective states should also be left to them. 

" Much has been said in argument of the power of the general government to enforce 
its own laws, and in so doing preserve the peace, though it is not very apparent what 
pertinency the observations have to the questions involved in the cases before us. No 
one win deu}' that in the powers granted to it the general government is supreme, and 
that upon all subjects within their scope, it can make its authority respected and obeyed 
throughout the limits of the republic ; and that it can repress all disorders and disturb- 
ances which interfere with the enforcement of its laws. But I am unable to perceive in 
this fact, which all sensible men acknowledge, any cause for the exercise of ungranted 
power. The greater its lawful power, the greater the reason for not usurping more. 
Unrest, disquiet and disturbance will always arise among a people, jealous of their 
rights, from the exercise by the general government of powers which they have re- 
served to themselves or to the states." 

Judge Field's name is stainless, and held in honor by every man 
tliat respects integrity and admires courage. His public life has 
been as pure as running water and as bright in every prominent 
feature as a star. As a candidate he would be at eyevy point above 
assault. Before his name inscribed upon the baimer to be lifted at 



LIBRftRY OF CONGRESS 



8 IliliillllilimilllllliiHiiiiniifi 

013 787 678 4 

Cincinnati, all differences in tlio Democratic p^n lv wu mu nieit away 
like mist before the risins; sun. Pie is identified with no faction ; 
and has no enemies to punish or friends to reward. lie has no long 
political record to explain or defend — nothing but the broad, calm, 
consistent flow of judicial logic, wherein there is no break, no vari- 
al)leness noi' shadow of turning. He should be acceptable to all 
factions in New York. lie is the most Westei'u of Western men 
and should excite the unbounded enthusiasm of that great section 
which clamors for recognition and has the power to enforce its de- 
mands. He is from the Gold Coast, where specie payments were 
never suspended, and would attract, more perhaps than any other 
'Democrat, the support of the interests requiring a stable currency. 
His opinions on the legal tender question are well known, but his 
secret service to the country at that momentous crisis is a chapter 
that may not now be written. He would bring the electoral votes 
of the Pacific states and of Colorado. He would be elected and 
when elected inaugurated. Of this last no man who knows him or 
the story of his life can entertain a doubt. He is alike above fear 
and above reproach. No personal peril — and he has passed many — 
ever did or ever will deter him. from the performance of a public 
dutv. 



LIBRARY OF CONGRESS 



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